There are more than a few great horror ongoings out there, but the horror tale is one that thrives in the short story format — just ask masters of the genre such as Edgar Allan Poe and H. P. Lovecraft. Before and during the early years of the Comics Code Authority, uncensored, unapproved black and white horror anthologies were all the rage of those who were not content to read yet another story about Superman bashing Commies, and Dark Horse has brought back two of the era’s biggest hits: “Creepy,” and it’s sister publication “Eerie!”
Written and Illustrated by Various
Uncle Creepy’s been having all the fun in Dark Horse’s revival of classic Warren magazines, so now it’s Cousin Eerie’s turn! The terrifying treasury of sinister sci-fi and fearsome fantasy returns with two all-new stories to thrill and chill, plus a classic reprint! First up is a dose of robotic paranoia from red-hot writer/artist David Lapham, followed by way-too-close encounters from Creepy veteran Christopher Taylor! Your trip to the comics store is about to get a lot more horrifying!
*Featuring star writer/artist David Lapham (The Strain, Stray Bullets)!
*Presented in glorious, ghoulish black-and-white!
The opening number on this set is David Lapham’s ‘A Robot for Your Thoughts,’ which sees the praised modern horror comics creator returning to both the typewriter and the pencil. The idea of a robot revolution has haunted the shared space between horror and science fiction since the days of Asimov and even earlier, and since the release of films such as The Terminator and The Matrix, robot dystopia has nearly become its own genre — and, like most genres, it is one rife with cliches. Lapham, though, does an excellent job of avoiding any such cliches; ‘A Robot for Your Thoughts’ is almost entirely cerebral and internalized horror, waiting for its last few pages to get a bit messy. Lapham’s art helps carry his script immensely — the cold, detached mind of Michael is readily apparent in how empty his face is. Unlike other artists, though, this is deliberate on Lapham’s part; the vacancy is structured, and not a result of carelessness. That being said, ‘A Robot for your Thoughts,’ while innovative, trips up a bit at the end. While the final twist of the tale seems to be a bit of a deviation from where the reader might expect to be taken after the first twist, it seems unnecessary. As is, the weight of the ending is dependent on plot and not on character, and character wins over plot nine times out of ten.
A brief reprint of a story by renowned “Eerie” editor Bill Dubay is next, titled ‘Life Species.’ The tale is brief, totaling only four pages, and leans more toward the science fiction side of things than horror — in fact, the ending is rather humorous — but is still a clever little piece that fans of shows such as The Twilight Zone will enjoy. Still, being a reprint, there’s a possibility that diehard fans of non-Comics Code Authority horror stories will have already read it, but if you are not one such reader, then you are sure to enjoy this intermission treat.
Christopher A. Taylor and Rafa Garres’s ‘Beta-Eden’ is a story that is sure to raise some questions. The story is not exactly unique; in fact, similar ones have been done time and time again. Yet, by mapping up the grotesque, Taylor and Garres are able to drive home the core, gender-swapped point that much more. When the genders of the two central characters are reversed, the glamour of the Other is stripped away, and we see that what disgusts us is not the blizzard and otherworldly, but the disgusting nature of mankind, albeit refracted. Garres’s art is excellent for a comic like this; the artist takes advantage of the grayscale to achieve a depth that many artists who have their work colored could never achieve.
‘Child’ by horror comics veterans Richard Corben and Bruce Jones stands out from the rest — and not only because it’s in color. ‘Child’ was a story illustrated by Corben in the original “Eerie;” now, it is being remade, in a sense, with Jones as the scripter. Corben’s art is just as well composed as fans have come to expect, perfectly conveying a sense of dread and foreboding without bogging down the motion at all. Jones’s script, like Corben’s art, has an old-time horror feel that is exquisitely crafted; sure, it might take itself a bit too seriously, but the excess gravitas is part of what makes these kind of comics great and unlike anything else on the stands or in theaters. Sure, maybe a more contemporary reader who only reads horror in the vein of ‘The Walking Dead’ might find it to be excessive, but, hey, you wouldn’t be picking up “Eerie” we’re that the case, would you?Continued below
With thirty pages of story at $2.99, plus the fact that it is an anthology, this meaning higher odds that you will find at least something you like in it, “Eerie” #1 is one of the safest purchases you can make this week. For those who have never really tried the more old-fashioned, pre-CCA style horror comics, this is as good a time as any to give them a whirl. For longtime fans of this book and its older sister, “Creepy,” though, “Eerie” #1 is a no-brainer.
Final Verdict: 8.0 – Buy it!